Startup Mariana Launches B2B Lead Gen Platform That Automatically Creates Personas

The personas are used to find decision-making individuals at targeted companies.

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Credit: Mariana

Credit: Mariana

A variety of B2B predictive lead scoring firms can find and rate companies according to how likely they are to become your customer.

But startup Mariana is today launching its platform so that marketers can also more accurately find the decision-makers within those companies. The Palo Alto, California-based company, founded in 2013, is also announcing $2 million in seed funding.

First, the platform analyzes a client firm’s existing database of potential company targets to pinpoint the most promising possibilities. Then it goes to work finding the decision-making individuals at each targeted company.

“Our special sauce,” CEO and co-founder Venkat Nagaswamy told me, “is that we automatically create persona.”

Nagaswamy said that other lead-scoring companies choose those individuals mostly on the basis of their titles, which can be misleading.

By contrast, he said, Mariana utilizes neural net-powered deep learning to create the personas expected within those companies. Data sources include Twitter’s social graph, ZoomInfo corporate profiles, Meetup, Elance,, and client companies’ historical data of past interactions with a specific company.

The key to creating the persona, he said, “boils down to semantic analysis.”

“For the most part, predictive analytics are based on numerical data,” he said. But Mariana is “creating models based on semantic and verbal info.”

The platform’s deep learning understands, for example, that the terms “VLAN” and “network virtualization” are related.

After the persona is creating, the task is to find the right individual by matching their profiles to the persona models.

Mariana Image 4

For instance, Nagaswamy said, file services provider Egynte determined that key individuals at its targeted companies would have an interest in Active Directory. Mariana’s platform then needed to model the type of personas who would have such an interest, and then match them to actual people at targeted companies.

Nagaswamy said that WhiteHat Security, also a client during the platform’s nine-month beta phase, did a manual check of the accuracy of Mariana’s automated identification of decision-making individuals inside targeted companies. They found that Mariana had a 95 percent accuracy in mapping individuals to personas, he said.

Besides finding the targeted company and identifying the individuals, the Mariana platform also can be used to locate and direct promoted content to them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Overall, he claimed, Mariana can double “A-grade” leads beyond manual searches, and provides a two-to-three-fold improvement in conversion rates, at a lower cost, than other means. He pointed to LeadSpace as the closest competitor for persona creation, but added that they employ a more manual process.

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About the author

Barry Levine
Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.

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